Hyperbole and tension weren’t lacking during Tuesday’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting, especially during a heated debate between Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th, and a local developer.
In discussing tax abatements and incentives, developer Bill Bean mentioned it was ok for the city to offer incentives for companies to invest in parts of the city that “for whatever reason, maybe they’re less desirable to be in.”
That clearly irked Hines, who represents southeast Fort Wayne, and prompted him to attack Bean by calling his statement “offensive” and asking him to remove his “personal prejudice.”
“To further the entire community we have to take away some of those old stereotypes of what is desirable and what is not desirable and then move forward,” Hines said.
Bean responded by telling Hines that the councilman was taking his comment “completely out of context” and noted that he has as much, if not more, invested on the southeast part of town as any developer. He also tried to clarify that some areas aren’t desirable for development for several reasons, such as lack of access to the interstate.
“I think basically taking the position that no one should question whether some location is more desirable than another is just not dealing with economic reality,” Bean said.
Hines upped the hyperbole in defending his efforts to seek development in all areas of the city by saying, “We are at war with other communities for these businesses that are highly desirable ... At the end of the day we’ve got to find a way to make sure that we solidify the entire community and not just a certain area.”
Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, had to end the back and forth to keep the meeting on task.